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2 big dogs, 1 big problem!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by r_neupert, Jul 30, 2009.


  1. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    So i still have the lovely Rodney in foster with me. Both our dogs are 30kg plus, you can't miss them really. Indy has never been great on the lead, she will happily trot along with you, but if she sees/smells something she wants to go and see, you've got to dig your heels in!! But i'm happy i can deal with this, she's still young and still needs some training and experiences.

    Rodney is packing a few more pounds than Indy, i guess he has never been socialised properly because he does what Indy does, but on a greater scale. This morning he went hedge diving (i nearly went hedge diving too!), god knows what was in this giant hedge, but it was like something off Jurrassic park, i could hear noises and see a giant wobbling hedge, no dog though!! Other dogs cause him to charge - unfortunately it eggs Indy on too :(

    Hang on.. where was i going with this...

    Oh yep... ok so in essence, walkies are awesome, so long as NOTHING is around (including hedges). It's getting a little tiresome/embarassing/ occasionally painful... I would never want to let Rodney go back to the rescue because i had just given up trying to help him, i want to work this through until he gets a home.

    So does anyone own some larger dogs who need a firm hand and can struggle to keep control in some situations, or anyone who has sorted this sort of situation out?
     
  2. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    What about taking them out seperately and work on their heel, and also have you thought about teaching them the 'pay atention' or 'watch me' command, as then if they start to go off course, you can ask them to pay attention. Then maybe the reward can be having a few minutes of hedge diving if they are good?

    Or try a halti or similar.

    x
     
  3. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    Had him for about 2 weeks now - so the getting acclimatised and acquainted period is nearly done. We can now walk without scrapping... phew!!

    I do have a halti for Indy, maybe i'll try it on Rodders instead, he is the one that can't be stopped should he want to go.... They both walk on harnesses right now.

    I guess if i was going to be brutally honest, it's going to be rather difficult to walk both dogs seperately, they both are quite high energy so they need long walks... oh for more hours eh... but i guess once every day or 2 is definately something i can do. Probably a common problem, but they go deaf as soon as something comes into vision... even food is not important...
     
  4. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Lol yeah I know what you mean.
    Both mine are high energy so need walked together, otherwise I ould be walking all day!

    But if you get him used to the halti then you should manage them both on walks.

    For a while I had Dixie on her halti and Dave on the Canny collar. But that got annoying as Dixie still tried to pull infront, and Dave dragged behind!

    Now sometimes I have Dixie on her walkezee harness and Dave on slip lead as he walks perfectly on that :)

    Good luck and well done for not giving up on Rodney he is lovely and deserves it :) :)

    x
     
  5. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    I'm going to send the OH out with the halti on Rodders tomorrow morning.... it's my lay in :D Will update you tomorrow!

    Thank you, Rodney is a truely lovely dog, wish he could stay with us, but he's going to be too big i think.... wish i knew what he was crossed with... something big with long legs... maybe a horse x staffy?
     
  6. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Lol how tall is he?
    I remember they thought he was crossed with a dane. He does really look like my pups mum. I'll see if I can find a picture

    x

    Here she is
    [​IMG]
     
    #6 PoisonGirl, Jul 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2009
  7. shazalhasa

    shazalhasa PetForums VIP

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    Harnesses are pretty much guaranteed to make a dog pull :(

    I've got a bit of a donkey dog too... pyrenean mountain dog, he's a big boy too at 29in to shoulder and only 7 months old :D When he was on a normal collar he'd pull us all over the place but from about 4-5 months we put him on a halti or half choke whatever you call it. Anyway... huge difference, placed it higher up on his neck and only had to correct him a couple of times before he got the message. He now walks perfectly for all of us... including my daughter :D

    I'd try retraining the dogs one at a time as it'll probably be a lot easier for you.
     
  8. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    For dogs that have poor concentration on walks and get easily distracted, I recommend doggy back packs. For 2 reasons:
    1) It gives them a job to do, so keeps them focused
    2) Put some weight in it and build it up i.e bottles of water and it intensifys their workout, great for high energy dogs.

    The difference when my guys have got them on is very noticable. In saying that, if a cat runs past them, nothing stops them pulling! But overall, I think they are great!

    x
     
  9. caelsgirl

    caelsgirl PetForums Junior

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    Hi there,

    I have a Northern Inuit, a very large dog, the halti is the best way to go as then you have absolute control of where their weight is going, harnesses are great but unfortunatly most of a dog's power is in it's chest and shoulders!!! With control of his head you are controlling where he is going absolutly.

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    Just measured my donkey - 29inches to his shoulder. Indy is about 26inches.

    Tonight my nerves are totally frazzled... it's been teethy playing/fighting for the past few hours, i can't really tell which one it is though at the moment. Have a bucket of water at the ready though.... normally the s**tty stuff on the walk is balanced out by some lovely hugs and licks when we're home. Tonight however... pfft... it's pretty stressful. I don't have a giant house so when they start to go bonkers at eachother, one inevitably ends up fly kicking me!! Still not going to give up though, but it's definately been a draining week since he got some confidence.

    Right... there's a positive in there somewhere. Ditched the harness on Rodders this evening for the halti... his walk mainly consisted of him being pulled along nose down bum up, but i think I had a bit more control?! We didn't have any hedge incidents or meet any dogs, so i can't say for certain, think he was more pissed about wearing the Halti to care!!
     
  11. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    Oh and just to add... they do look VERY similar Poisongirl!!! Any chance of a relation you think?
     
  12. cassie01

    cassie01 PetForums VIP

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    my rottie is a nightmare if he gets distracted, we have a halti harnes thing and clip the lead to the bit at the front rather then the back, that way when he pulls it pulls him round, same idea as a head collar but without the strain on the neck.

    my other dog, a very strong ridgeback only pulls to the end of the drive but he does pull your arm off. after that though hes fine!!
     
  13. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    Not really sure my Halti specs, strap round the nose and strap behind the ears with a ring under the chin to clip into...

    STILL FIGHTING!!!!! :cursing: :mad: :cursing:
     
  14. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Get a water pistol or spray bottle, and the instant they start fighting, spray them in the face and say 'NO' loudly.
    Then oce they look at you, tell them to go to bed and give them a treat :)

    Play fighting was a BIG problem as soon as I felt Dave was capable of not weeing if I let him stay out his crate in the evenings.
    I don't know it if was Dixie, or him, but it was annoying! Everytime I turned my back they were at it again and I usually only had one of them out their crate.
    Until my OH brought a spray bottle from wilko's. It was great! The dogs hate it, so now I onlt need to pick it up before they stop messing around.

    Stopping them play fighting outside is still an ongoing battle. I started folloing them around and spraying them when they got too out of hand.

    x
     
  15. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    Yeh i've been doing that... but i kind of feel like i'm on a knife edge with Rodney - he is a bit bi-polar! He's had some funny reactions to things, and i wouldn't say i've feared for myself, but i've been concerned enough to back away. Trying to douse out a fight has backfired on some occasions!!!

    I put Rodney on one side of the baby gate, and Indy on the other to break up a fight, and next thing i look up and Indy had jumped over to be with him!! So i guess there's love there...
     
  16. fun4fido

    fun4fido PetForums Senior

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    Hi,

    I really would suggest that you work on the walking nice on leash separately to begin with.

    Halti and Gentle Leaders are great at giving you more control, but they have to be used properly. They should not be used simply to restrain a dog, nor should they be used to pull a dog along.

    They are a training tool and should be used as such. So the idea is that you are working towards both dogs walking on a loose leash. They don't have to be right by your side, just not pulling.

    The problem I see you might be having is that a lot of the sniffing, hedge diving, etc, is self-rewarding for your dog, so this behaviour will only increase because it's rewarding.

    I would recommend you buy this book: My Dog Pulls. What Do I Do?

    With regards to the fighting, please don't use a water spray, this can easily make the situation worse.

    Best thing supervise, when a fight starts immediately separate them, and give both a 1 min time-out in separate rooms.

    Repeat this if necessary until they are calm. Then reinforce calm, or nice play, with rewards. Rewards can be anything your dogs really like, but obviously bite size human food treats are best.

    You might find the last section of paragraphs on this article interesting, from the heading Looking For Alternatives:

    What Shapes Canine Social Behaviour?
     
    r_neupert likes this.
  17. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

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    If they are play fighting (as opposed to nasty fighting or status seeking) I would avoid the water bottle too, but you can still be the controller of play by introducing a clear signal that it is time to calm down.... try playing with toys for a few minutes and then removing the toys, give a distinctive command (I use 'Game Over' - phonetically different to any other command) and use a unique hand signal too to reinforce the command. Have several short play sessions each day and always end the session with the same command. You should then be able to transfer this command to their play fights when it's getting too boisterous!

    If you're having sucess with a head collar and want to invest in a good quality one that fits nicely, have a look at this site ... Dogmatic Headcollar they have nicely coloured ones too that stop people assuming your dog is wearing a muzzle
     
  18. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    Just to add quickly about the fighting/water spraying. I really do try to avoid it, but their fighting does end up quite nasty sometimes. 90% of the time i try to totally avoid getting involved because i want them to sort it out naturally, and just to say too, the first week was a total nightmare, however now something will only break out every 2 or 3 days, which i'm assuming is pretty normal anyway.

    The times i do intervene is where one is visibly in pain, or blood has been drawn and it's getting way out of hand. This has only happened on a few occasions, but i want to put their welfare first. Or if the fighting starts to affect me - like last night when they ran straight into my leg and i now have a giant lump!! It's either sorted by standing up and giving a firm no, a squirt to the face, or seperating them. I have an open plan house - so seperating them is quite tough, but they normally just get seperated by a gate, which one inevitably jumps to go make up with the other!!!

    I'm not seeing the halti as an answer to the problems - that's why when i can i'll take them on seperate walks. But as i said, when both need to be walked quite a few miles to tire them out, it is logistically difficult!!!

    I have to be quite careful with treats with Rodney - he's very food aggressive as he was a stray, so treating can often result in fighting - however i think we've made a bit of headway on this recently!!
     
  19. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    The only thing to bare in mind is that by not walking them together, they are not participating in their most important ritual.

    When I got my newest rescue, I had big problems with him and Max. (inc a couple of trips to the vet!). The one thing which helped me was by walking them together side by side as often as possible, therefore creating a pack. It is probably the single most important thing you can do, when you are trying to migrate two dogs x
     
  20. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    Walking used to be a huge problem, but it seems they've learnt to deal with that now and not fight during walks (shame i haven't, keep tripping over them!!).

    I normally walk Rodney on a short-ish lead (1m ish?), and Indy on a flexi. Indy is in a harness and Rodders is in the Halti now. The only reason i normally walk Rodney on the short lead is so he can get used to walking side by side instead of bounding off, plus i don't want him to spot something and do the run at full pelt then get whiplashed at the end of the flexi! I just switched them over at the end of the walk, and Rodney stayed by my side the whole way, despite the flexi being unlocked!
     
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